From Codependence to Healthy Interdependence

Is your emotional well-being reliant on one or a few people in your life? Maybe it’s a romantic partner. Maybe it’s a family member or a very close friend. Here are some signs you are experiencing codependency: you are hyper-aware of how you are making others feel and how they are making you feel; you feel responsible for the emotions or actions of others; you (perhaps unconsciously) attempt to control the behavior of others; you have low self-worth; you feel loved or needed through fixing others’ problems; you have difficulty saying “no”; you are a people-pleaser; all your focus is placed on your partner or other people; you betray yourself for others; you feel like you give more than you receive; you have a fear of rejection or abandonment; you are indecisive and fear you will regret any choices you make; you are scared of being truthful to yourself and others.

So, what does healthy interdependence look like in relationships? Interdependence involves recognizing the importance of the bond you share with other individuals, but showing up in those relationships as a whole, complete individual. Interdependent partners communicate well, are not demanding of one another, and feel worthy outside of that relationship.

How do you move away from codependence and toward interdependence? The first step is recognizing that you are not responsible for the actions and feelings of others, and they are not responsible for yours. Draw your focus inward, and do the work to meet your own needs first. Begin setting boundaries for yourself; know that it is not selfish to take time just for yourself or say “no” when it feels right. Engage in self-care. Do something for you, without the goal of receiving validation from others. Speak your truth, even if it is scary. Take accountability for your emotions and fears, and begin to understand the underlying reasons for them. Most importantly, be patient and kind with yourself, because shifting dependency patterns can be a scary, time-consuming process. Remember that your relationships will become healthier and more fulfilling as you do the work.